Another New Year and Travels with Harley

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As another year comes to an end, Travels with Harley would like to thank everyone who has been following our blog since its inception on February 25 2013. It’s hard to believe that we will be heading into our third year on the web.

For the past few weeks Travels with Harley has been sharing Christmas tid bits with you and would like to finish the year off with some little known facts about New Years Eve.

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Every year over a million people, converge on Time Square to watch the ball drop celebrating the birth of a brand new year. More than a billion people watch the event on television.

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The Scottish ring in the New Year with a Canon blast from Edinburgh Castle followed by a massive fireworks display.

Gisborne, NZ, located 496.4 kilometers west of the International Date Lane, is the first large city to welcome in the New Year.

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When London, England celebrated New Years Eve in 2013, a multi-sensory display included candy and LED bracelets that were eaten during the massive fireworks show.

One of the most popular holiday events in Russia is New Years Eve with families listening together to the president’s speech which is followed the Kremlin Clock bells at midnight.

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The world’s tallest building, located in Dubai, is the location for the New Year’s Eve fireworks extravaganza. Skyscraper Burj Khalifa plays host to the most expensive fireworks show on the planet.

One of the most spectacular fireworks displays in the world takes place in Sydney, Australia. Every year the fireworks and music show culminates in a grand finale that is centered on the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

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Now that 2015 has come to a close, it is time to reflect on the year and make plans for the next 12 months and beyond. Travels with Harley certainly plans to take more road trips and feature them in our 2016 blog, who knows, we just may decide to start filming our trips! Oh, and remember, if you have anything to share, feel free to write to Travels with Harley. We love to hear from our readers…until then have a safe and prosperous New Year.

More Little Known Christmas Facts

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Before Travels with Harley gets into our last blog about Christmas facts, Jim and Demea would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and an even Happier New Year. Now, let’s get back to the things that you didn’t know about Christmas.

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Leave it to the Scandinavians, most notably the Norwegian scientists, who have come up with a hypothesis that Rudolph’s cherry red nose is most probably the result of an unfortunate parasitic infection coming from his respiratory system. If you have been reading our little known Christmas facts, you will know that couldn’t possibly be the case. One thing that Travels with Harley didn’t tell you was that Montgomery Ward almost gave Rudolph a different colored nose as the top brass thought that the public would perceive Rudolph as a drunkard.

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The biggest Christmas stocking in the world measured in at 106 feet plus another 9 inches long and a massive 49 feet and an inch wide. Weighing as much as five of Santa’s reindeer, the largest Christmas stocking on the planet was stuffed with nearly 1,000 gifts and was made in London by the Children’s Society on December 14 in 2007.

The British, Australians and other Commonwealth countries open their Christmas Crackers, also known as Bon Bons, which are tubes wrapped up in paper with prizes inside on Christmas Day during Christmas lunch, brunch, or dinner. Once popped open, yes they make a sound much like a firecracker, the Christmas Crackers contain everything from toys to paper crowns that dinner guests wear during the Christmas meal.

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The gorgeous poinsettia plants that adorn homes all over the world are actually native to Mexico, and although it is considered poisonous, it is not. However, holy berries are. The poinsettia was originally cultivated by the Aztecs. The Aztecs called it Cuetlaxochitl, which translates to, “Flower which wilts.” The plants color symbolizes purity and was quite often used to help reduce fever.

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President Theodore Roosevelt was a vocal environmentalist and in 1901, forbid live Christmas Trees in the White House.

This Christmas be kind to your friends and family and don’t forget to remember why we celebrate. Merry Christmas to all, and as they say, to all a good night…

Christmas Facts you Won’t Believe

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In 10 days it will be Christmas Eve, and if you haven’t finished all of your Christmas shopping consider this, the biggest shopping day of the year isn’t Black Friday at all, but the last Saturday before Christmas Day. That Saturday even tops Christmas Eve for the holiday procrastinators.

Travels with HarleySpeaking of Christmas, Travels with Harley has some more interesting little known facts about the most loved holiday on the planet.

The Guinness Book of World Records claims that the largest Christmas tree ever recorded was a cut 221 foot displayed back in 1950. The Douglas Fir took pride and place at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Washington.

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Spider Webs and spiders are quite common in Poland at Christmas time with the Polish decorating their Christmas trees with webs and the spiders. Poland considers spiders a sign of good luck bringing prosperity and goodness as legend has it that a spider was responsible for weaving the Baby Jesus’ baby blanket.

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The first state in America to officially recognize Christmas was Alabama in 1836, with Oklahoma being the last state to declare Christmas Day a legal holiday.

Speaking of declarations, it wasn’t until June 26 in 1870 that the United States legally declared Christmas as an official holiday.

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Christian historians claim that it was Martin Luther, 1483-1546, who was so moved by the beauty and light from the stars that shined between each branch of a fir tree, brought one home to decorate with candles to share with his family on Christmas.

The giant log that burns during December 25 to January 6, or the 12 days of Christmas, is known as a Yule Log. Some historians believe that the word Yule, means, “Wheel,” or “Revolution,” symbolizing the return of the sun. When the log and its charred remains are burned, it offers fertility, health, and luck, not to mention the Yule Log’s ability to ward off evil spirits.

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Next week Travels with Harley will share its last blog about little known Christmas facts; personally, I cannot wait to see what we come up with! Merry Christmas and I hope you have your shopping and baking done, or at least close to it !

More Christmas Trivia

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If you follow our Travels with Harley blog, you would have learned a few interesting things about Christmas that you probably didn’t know. After a little digging, Travels with Harley has come up with a few more interesting tid bits about Christmas that you may not be aware of.

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Frosty the Snowman didn’t start his life out as the lead character in a song or a TV series. In fact, Frosty the Snowman wasn’t something associated with kids at all. Frosty the Snowman was the brainchild of an ad executive back in 1890 that used Frosty the Snowman to market whiskey. Frosty was brought back to life after prohibition when he began to appear in ads for Schlitz, Jack Daniels, and Chivas Regal.

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Although American children place stockings on the mantle or elsewhere if there is no fireplace, Dutch children expect Santa Claus to fill their shoes with extra special gifts.

One of the most popular Christmas songs, Jingle Bells, was actually first written for Thanksgiving. Written in 1957 by songwriter James Pierpont, the song was originally called One Horse Open Sleigh. So popular was the tune at Thanksgiving that people started to sing it during Christmas as well.

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Located in the King’s Canyon National Park in California, the United States first national Christmas tree is aptly named the, “General Grant Tree,” and measures more than 300 feet tall. Officially named the national tree in 1925, the General is a giant sequoia.

The Christmas turkey wasn’t always the star of the holiday dinner in the UK. In fact, Roast turkey didn’t become a popular menu item until about 1851 when it replaced the traditional Christmas dinner entrée, roast swan. However, the Royal Family enjoyed the ever popular Boars head as the main course for a few more decades.

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Christmas is full of symbols, with the humble Candy Cane being one of the most popular and one of the most controversial. Some say the Candy Cane originally dates back to the year 1670 in Europe and signifies the shape of the hook that Jesus used to shepherd his sheep with the red and white stripes indicating purity and the sacrifice of Christ. However according to some the significance of the Candy Cane remains the same, but was created by a candy maker in Illinois.